The first day of the program with the French Partners was last Tuesday, September 23, 2014. The first task was to meet with the director of the ICP in order to review year 1 of the project and discuss the plan of year 2 which includes the local guides training program and the need to validate the plan with the Ministry of Tourism, and the focus on the hosting and homestays regarding the Food Production and the English training courses.
The French partners then met with the Mayor of Bani Na’im in order to discuss putting the explanatory panels and the signage across the segment of Masar Ibrahim from Auja to Hebron. They distributed both kinds of panels to the presence including the mayor and explained what they contain. They then suggested that these panels would be made in ceramic and that they will be displayed in the cities as a mean of advertisement to the tourists and a mean of guidance to the Masar Ibrahim hikers.
After that, the French partners asked if it is possible to agree with the municipality on the locations that these panels will be installed in, and both parties agreed on certain locations such as the downtown, Lot mosque, and Yaqin place. Masar Ibrahim along with a group from the municipality then went for a tour around the city in order to specify the locations and to measure the destination on the maps.
In Al Rashayda, The French and Masar Ibrahim have met with Abu Ismael in the Bedouin Tent in order to check if everything is okay and whether they need anything that might help in developing the tent and facilitate the stay there. From his part, Abu Ismael mentioned some challenges and needs such as the lack of solar power and the need for a fridge and a washing machine, and Masar Ibrahim and the French partners took it into consideration.
At the end of the day, Masar Ibrahim staff and the French Partners had dinner together at the Grotto Restaurant in Beit Sahour in order to strengthen the connections between both parties and to have a great time and a good conversation together.